Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fun With Sleep Apnea: Sleep Or Teeth

To get a good night’s sleep, I might have to give up my teeth.

No, that doesn’t mean that I need to have my teeth surgically removed so that I can breath properly while sleeping. Let me backtrack.

Thanks to some bad advice given to me by a dentist years ago, I have receding gum lines due to improper brushing. Dry mouth can aggravate the problem.

When I first tried the C-PAP machine, I would wake up with a parched mouth. A water unit to add humidity was included in the system and that did keep my mouth moist while sleeping. But one night I woke up and found my head filled with moldy miasma, even though I had carefully changed the water and cleaned the C-PAP hoses and other accessories. I have a severe allergy to molds; that ended my C-PAP use.

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who has sleep apnea but successfully uses C-PAP. He said he also had a mold problem when he used the water unit. He doesn’t use the unit anymore, putting up with dry mouth.

I can see it now: I get proper sleep but my teeth go to hell. Time marches on and I end up as a well-rested but toothless old man.

Anyway, there might be another answer. Round Two in the sleep lab is scheduled the night after Xmas and then a visit with the new doctor right after New Year’s Day.

In the meantime, I’ll keep properly brushing my teeth while half-awake.

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